I remember reading about a year or so ago that the first person to live to one thousand years of age had already been born. Then there was someone on the radio the other day who was talking about the massive ‘progress’ that had been made in the world of bio-tech in recent years, indicating perhaps that the first person never to die has already been born? Of course, access the medical privileges to bring about such an outcome will be restricted to the few people that actually deserve (can afford) them. But add to all that a globally warmed planet where just a few pieces of what was once high ground stick out above the swirling seas, where only the mega-rich can afford to own real estate, and the future of mankind starts to look a lot different.
I was thinking these thoughts as I repaired a three or four year old Primark giblet, original price £10, whilst watching the closing ceremony of Cop 26. I’ve always done things like that, not so much out of necessity, as much the desire to preserve a recently acquired item. My best trousers are fifteen years old, and my most serviceable suit has been upholstered so comprehensively that it will definitely last longer than the planet on which we are presently standing – and may well serve as a buoyancy aid come the day. How is it, that I born at the fag end of the baby boom, with no significant mental defects, am not one of the billionaire community presently conjuring with oblivion? I mean, there’s literally thousands of them. And if not that, how come I’m not rewarded for a lifetime of perspicacity?
The article I read back then, described how people like Mel Gibson (yeah, I know right?) and others (I fancy Lulu as a minimum, and perhaps Tina Turner too), had begun to make plans for the coming changes, you know, underground bunker complexes, mercenaries to guard the perimeter, half a dozen jars of Marmite, that sort of thing. Yet as much as such provisions may be adequate for a few years of post-apocalypse, it’s nowhere near what’s required for a world where you have to live in the same bunker forever. For EVER. Gulp.
Sure, they’ll be able to put people on the payroll who can design and maintain systems for getting rid of waste; turn dirty air and water into a usable product, like they do on submarines; develop security systems to keep out anyone who has drifted up to their island on a floating fatberg; and what sort of decent eco-system would not keep the service providers apart from the serviced? But surely the two camps, the enslaved, and the new masters, will have to bleed at the margins when it comes to the question of entertainment?
Even the most ignorant will have read all the books and watched all the films in the first thousand years. Then what do they do? One of them has to start entertaining the others. In this equation you have to fancy the mercenaries on the gate to come off best since they are the ones with the weapons, but even if the billionaire camp owners manage themselves out of that predicament, how their community of the greatest bullies and exploiters that ever lived will decide which of them is to entertain the rest will make for a testy problem. Will the best tap dancer (IMHO BTW it’s got to be Rishi Sunak), rise to the top as the holder of the strongest new currency, or will he become the uber-slave who is traded between his tougher, richer comrades, like little Judy Garland once was? It also begs the question, that if they’d been any good at planning in the first place, what were they doing letting Bruce Forsyth and Des O’Connor die so close to permanent lockdown? Not to mention what safeguards they’ve taken to stop the new Jimmy Savile getting inside the fence.
It’s too late now to expect any means of accessing either the wealth or the medical services to become one of the new community, but, if selected, would I take a door job with a watered down version of the same – life extended by say a thousand years or so, and a nice lodge on the edge of the encampment?
It’s got to be no, hasn’t it? As much as I’d like to watch Zuckerberg vs Musk fight for the world title, or a Putin vs Johnson jousting bout, I think I’ve seen enough of them in this short run on earth to know that they won’t improve for holding a larger percentage stake in it.